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Bedtime Story (1941)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 25 December 1941 (USA)
Playwright tries to stop his wife from retiring so he can star her in his next play.



(screen play), (story) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
William Dudley
Virginia Cole
Emma Harper
Tim Ryan ...
Olaf Hytten ...
Andrew Tombes ...


A Braodway playwright wants to keep on writing plays for his wife to star in, but all she wants is to retire to Connecticut and, following a few 'worlds-apart" discussion of the issue, they get a divorce. The actress marries a banker in a fit of pique only to quickly discover the divorce was not valid. She communicates this information to her not-yet ex-husband and he, to prevent consummation of the invalid marriage rescues her by sending plumbers, waiters, porters, chambermaids, bellhops, desk clerks, exterminators and, finally, a crowd of roistering conventioneers to the suite to ensure no bedtime story would take place there. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A bedtime story every woman wants to be told...with gestures! (Trade paper ad). See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 December 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Accadde una sera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After a night at a roadside gas station and motel, Mr. Drake (Fredric March) asks Mrs. Drake (Loretta Young) to pay for her room. She says that she's out of cash, so she'll have to use her credit card. The use of the term "credit card" in this 1941 movie is curious. The first use of the term "credit card" is attributed to Edward Bellamy in his 1887 utopian novel, 'Looking Backward', but the first actual credit card (not to be confused with a single-vendor "charge card" issued by department stores, airlines, and the like) didn't come along until the Diners Club card was introduced in 1950. However, gas stations were beginning to accept each others' charge cards in the 1930s. Obviously, the terms were being used interchangeably even before the likes of Diners Club, Carte Blanche, American Express, and various bank-issued credit cards appeared on the scene. See more »


[last lines, at the end of the play's premiere]
Luke Drake: It's a smash hit, Eddie -- it'll run five years!
Jane Drake: Ladies and gentlemen! This will have the shortest run of any of Mr. Drake's plays...
[gasps from audience]
Luke Drake: No, no, no. Five years!
Jane Drake: It will be closed in the early spring by an act of God. And I'm sure Mr. Drake hopes it will be... a boy.
[Luke faints]
See more »


References Theodora Goes Wild (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

March Wants Her Back
24 August 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I was looking at the Citadel Film series book The Films of Fredric March while watching Bedtime Story and the author there makes the point that this seemed to be something that might have been originally designed for Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. That might be the case, but I doubt even those two could have done as good a job as Fredric March and Loretta Young did in this film.

March and Young both knew how to play comedy and well, despite both of them primarily known for drama. With something like Nothing Sacred among March's best films who would doubt that? As for Loretta, she's every bit as sparkling as Irene Dunne at her best.

To make the analogy complete, there's even a Ralph Bellamy part in this film, ably done by Allyn Joslyn. In fact in many ways Joslyn's the best thing in the film.

The lead characters seem to me to be based on that noted theatrical couple, playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes. The film begins with Loretta Young taking a curtain call and giving a farewell to the theater. She and her hubby want to settle down and enjoy life. But Loretta should have suspected something when March wasn't around to take the bow with her.

Good reason because that isn't March's idea at all. In fact he's written a new play for his wife, but she wants nothing to do with it. She's made her mind up and that breaks them apart. And good old Allyn Joslyn, stuffy banker in the Ralph Bellamy tradition, is ready on the rebound. He catches her all right, but the game isn't over, not from March's point of view.

Bedtime Story starts out a little slow, but really makes up for it in the end. That final scene as the newly married Joslyn and Young are trying to get down to business is absolutely hysterical. The situations are funny enough, but Joslyn's reactions are what really put it over. It's something borrowed from A Night At The Opera.

In fact I spotted elements from The Awful Truth, His Girl Friday, and Twentieth Century as well as the Marx Brothers classic. And producer B.P. Schulberg and director Alexander Hall make it all work.

Rounding out the cast in familiar type cast parts are Helen Westley, Robert Benchley, Eve Arden, Joyce Compton and Grady Sutton. You just mention those names and any devoted film buff can tell you exactly what they played.

I'm surprised Bedtime Story isn't rated higher by fans of both leads. It's a real gem of a screwball comedy, don't miss it.

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